“The Andy Griffith Show” and Mayberry had its very own roaming cowboy. And that just happened to be actor Ron Howard’s real-life brother Clint.
The little kid made an adorable impression on first producers and then audiences everywhere. Howard, of course, played Opie on the classic sitcom. So, his father Rance, and his little brother Clint often visited the set of the show when Howard was filming.
One day, Clint Howard showed up to set dressed like a little cowboy. His costume made director Bob Sweeney and also others melt. So, the director decided to include Clint Howard in the show as an added cuteness factor.
“It just kind of happened. My brother Clint started hanging around ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ set and the director Bob Sweeney one day just kind of recruited him,” Ron Howard told MeTV. “Clint was wearing a cowboy hat. And he had a toy gun and they thought that was a cute character. And he became Leon, this kid that was always offering Barney Fife a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. I’m not even sure he had a line of dialogue. But I think he did six or seven episodes.”
Ron Howard’s Brother Had a Recurring Role
Clint Howard appeared in five episodes of the show as Leon. The cowboy was playmates with Opie on the show. And he’s best remembered for his love of all things peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes, that proved to be a bit messy for the character.
Both Ron and Clint Howard have always been close as brothers. Clint often hung around the set even when he didn’t appear as Leon on the show. Later, Ron Howard became a film director, shepherding some of the biggest films in Hollywood. He made sure to always have a role for his baby brother in his films. Clint Howard appeared in films like “Cocoon,” “Parenthood,” and “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”
But Clint Howard wasn’t the only family member of Ron’s to appear on the classic sitcom. His father Rance also made infrequent appearances on “The Andy Griffin Show.” In total, he appeared in four of the show’s episodes. Unlike Clint, Rance didn’t have an established character that he played. He often filled in wherever the sitcom needed him.
Likewise, both Rance and Clint ended up appearing in Andy Griffith’s final movie decades later as well.